You Don’t Have To Know Polish

We published another new project for keying last night.  It is the Poland, Jews Displaced from Biała Podlaska to Miedzyrzecz Podlaski, 1942.  These are heart-wrenching records of entire families being forcibly moved from one location to another.  (You can read more about this community here.)

If you want to contribute to keying these particular records, you don’t have to know Polish.  Each image is a specific form, cleanly fielded with headings we have translated for you.  The first time through an image set, read the field helps very carefully.  Review the project page to get a more complete view of the instructions, and use the discussion tab there to ask any questions that come up.  Once you do that it becomes pretty easy to get through several image sets fairly quickly.

There aren’t many image sets in this project so download one soon if you want to participate.  Then, come back here and let us know what you think.

Until next time – Happy Keying!

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Well the first one was a bit tough. But after a read of the wiki page, it became much easier after that. Still having a bit of a struggle with the handwriting, but it’s getting easier. I’ll have to do a bunch more before I feel comfortable with arbitration on the set.

Polish is not an easy language for a non-speaker to decipher.

The good thing about this set is that several field values, or minor variations thereof, are pretty constant from one record to the next.

By maintaining a list of those in a Word document, it speeds the entry process, and ensures that all the diacriticals (of which there are a great many in these records)are properly entered, without having to repeatedly look them up.

I want to help, but I’ve read and reread the wiki page on this, and can’t for the life of me understand how the whole Father Given, Mother Given stuff works. I don’t understand why, if Mezczyna means ‘Man’ according to the page, it would have both Father and Mother names in the column. The instructions make zero sense.


Itv works as follows:

In the “Man” column, it asks for his name, followed by the names for his father and mother, along with their birth dates, and so forth. These are entered on the first line.

Moving on to “Woman”, the same procedure is followed, namely her name and maiden name, followed by the names of her father and mother, and so on.

Finally, in the “Child” section, one line is entered for each child, along with birth date and place, and “Yes”/”No” for Remarks for each child.

Does that clarify things?

Yeah, that helps, thanks. I was having trouble figuring out what was going where because of the whole ‘i’ and ‘z’ separators as well, plus the fact that Dzieci or child is put in its parent’s columns if I understand this right. The format was confusing me badly for those cards.

Come over to the Message Boards.

I’ll post an example there – it will take me a while to complete, so bear with me.

Alright – I’ve think I’ve mostly figured it out now, but have posted on the message boards what my understanding of the process is now. I’ve noticed people seem to think many of the names being used are similar, but mine are not similar to the auto-complete list, and for a couple born in the early 1860s. So it was tougher figuring out what went where with no names similar to the listed ones.


“Dzieci or child is put in its parent’s columns”

No, each entry for Dzieci gets its own line. Less info is required than for the parents – just name, DOB and location, plus Yes/No if remarks.

So, a family consisting of father, mother, and 3 children are entered as 5 lines.

Being able to read and understand Polish makes this an easy one to key. In Polish the letter “i” means and and loosely translated the letter “z” come from (from home – maiden name). Hope that helps Joshua.

I want to help with this but it seems one can only use a PC, why can’t those with Mac’s help?


Mostly because Ancestry used a number of development tools that only work for windows.

It doesn’t hurt to lat support know that there remains an interest in developing the keytng tool for macOS.

(You CAN use a Mac, it just has to be running Windows. This is possible to accomplish on machines that are running an Intel Processor)

I feel that this project, fascinating as it is, is best left to those with at least some knowledge of Polish place names as I am finding most of them almost impossible to read and they never seem to be on the list.Worked out the rest of it okay.

@lyn there are a couple supplemental helps with place name lists linked to from the main project pages.

It would be nice to know a little more about what I am keying. For instance when there is something in the child remarks column what does that mean? The same with annotations & penalties & comments. I am assuming the second date which appears under the date for removal from the register is the burial date?

I haven’t got every comment figured out, but do know a few that pop up regularly.

Nowa Karta- New card. This means the child has a separate card.

D.O. N…. There is a comment that appears identical to the format used in the ID fields for the parents. I presume the child was issued an ID.

Zmarł[a] – The person died

I’m not sure what the 2nd date on the register removal is, but i don’t think burial.

Comments on the back typically relate to somebody on the font. Can be about anything. You can transcribe and paste into Google translate if you like. I find that helps. I pretty much keep it open when I’m doing these.

Exercises like these to get one more accustomed to the handwriting and let you pick up a few words of the language as you go!


I’m building a supplemental for use in Warsaw.,_Jewish_Holocaust_Survivors_Registered_in_Warsaw,_1945-1946_-_Abbreviations

I haven’t done one for Biała, it being a constantly formatted set. It isn’t as critical there.


Thanks for your help. A question for you relating to Tyler Wills project. Whilst reviewing I have come across pages which should clearly be in the Tyler Baptism project. Most people have entered them as lists of names but this is clearly not very satisfactory. Whilst I could reject the image set the same thing will only happen again. Is there anyway of transferring an image to another project because perhaps there should be for reviewers?


Tyler- wills/baptism. There are a few pages that in both of there that belonged to the other. There’s really no clean way to transfer an image so another project. It requires development work. It can be done (and has, london schools form 2 is one where that was done, and there will eventually be a similar situation with the INS Casefiles). But it’s not really practical for a handful of images.

Best advice for now is to treat the just as lists of names. They’ll be found.


Okay thanks.